Home Industry News Releases Cognac Educator Program Celebrates 10 Years of Spirited Education Around the World

Cognac Educator Program Celebrates 10 Years of Spirited Education Around the World

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Launched in December 2010 by the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac), the Cognac  Educator program has certified nearly 100 professionals and leaders in the spirits industry from more the  20 countries. Over the past 10 years, these Cognac Educators have organized more than 1,300 masterclasses  and trained 55,000 professionals worldwide. These educators are committed to showcasing Cognac culture,  spreading cognac knowledge and the joys of this unique spirit, while helping to promote the Cognac  appellation worldwide. Acting as essential market intermediaries, educators hail from a range of backgrounds  and include bartenders, retailers, consultants, journalists, educators, and more. 

In 2020, Cognac Educators in the US led virtual masterclasses and tastings for bartenders, a media happy  hour, and a cognac and cheese pairing class as part of the Cognac Connection Challenge campaign and  other initiatives.

Hailing from key markets such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, Portland, San  Francisco, and Washington, DC, the current roster of Cognac Educators in the US includes: 

  • Joseph Ehrmann Hoke Harden  
  • Allen Katz  
  • Geoffrey Kleinman Francesco Lafranconi 
  • Miguel F. Lancha  ms. franky Marshall  Dan Nicolaescu  Howard Parris 
  • Linda Pettine  
  • Irina Ponomarenko Adam Robinson  Ezra Star  
  • Kellie Thorn 

Ms. Franky Marshall, Modern Bartender (NYC) shares, “It’s a great feeling to introduce or re-acquaint people  to the cognac category and convert them to permanent fans, whether it’s by having them consider cognac  in a different way, highlighting the various expressions, or showing how versatile cognac is in cocktails. The  more I learn about cognac, the more respect I have for it. I am proud to be a part of this select group of  individuals.” 

Every year, around 30 keen spirit-savvy professionals from around the world apply to join this community,  with around a dozen becoming certified Cognac Educators. They are invited to visit Cognac to immerse  themselves in the world of this wine spirit, discover its distinctive characteristics and meet key industry  players. After three days of training, candidates sit two exams – one written and one oral – in front of  a panel of experts made up of négociants, winegrowers and journalists. Successful candidates receive a  certificate and join the global Cognac Educator community. 


The BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac) represents, fosters and protects  the Cognac Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in France and abroad. In the 150 countries  where Cognac is sold, this AOC assures consumers a product of exceptional quality. With a  membership that equally represents the agricultural and commercial interests of Cognac, the  BNIC is the consultative and decision-making body for the 4,280 winegrowers, 120 distillers  and 280 merchants of the Cognac appellation.

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